When To Harvest Hawthorn Berries New England – Picking hawthorn berries is new to me this year. They are sweet and tender if you get them at the right time, and last year I tasted them too early in the fall. This year, the Washington hawthorn was sweet and mild in late October. But at that time the one-seeded hawthorn started to rot, so next year I will look for those in mid-October.
I am grateful for Josh Fecteau’s recent post on hawthorn, which inspired me to try hawthorn berries again. As Josh points out, there are many hawthorn species in New England, perhaps 50. And in all of North America perhaps a thousand species, according to George Symonds (from his wonderful book Tree Identification Book: A New Method for the Practical Identification and Recognition of Trees
When To Harvest Hawthorn Berries New England
, my favorite tree ID study guide). Fortunately, you don’t need to know how to identify specific species. You just need to know it’s a hawthorn because all hawthorns have edible berries. HOWEVER, like apple seeds, hawthorn seeds contain cyanide and should not be eaten. Don’t panic; just spit out the seeds.
Close Up Of Red Hawthorn Berries, Crataegus Monogyma Stock Photo
Why bother with hawthorns? They are beautiful, interesting and delicious wild foods with known health benefits. Some people make hawthorn jelly out of the berries, but I have yet to try it. Tea can be made from berries, leaves and flowers. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see how I make hawthorn berry extract.
I will describe two types here to show the common characteristics. This should help you recognize a hawthorn when you see one, but t
If you’re not sure you have hawthorn when foraging, check additional sources before eating the berries until you’re sure.
It grows as a small tree or large shrub and bears clusters of white flowers in late spring. In September (here), the berries turn red, but then become sweeter. Until October 31 they were sweet and maybe a little over the top. Each berry contains 3-5 seeds.
Hawthorn Magical Properties
The leaves are spiny and toothed as you can see in the photo above. Many other hawthorn species have similar leaves. The tree is heavily armed with long spines, up to about 3 inches long. However, with reasonable care, you can easily harvest berries that tend to hang from the branches. It’s even easier later in the season when many of the leaves have fallen and are no longer covering the spikes.
Also called common hawthorn, it is native to Europe and has escaped cultivation and naturalized in North America. It is sometimes labeled as an invasive plant, but I don’t find it very often, and when I do, it’s not a lot in one area. It may be invasive in other parts of the country, but it doesn’t seem to be particularly aggressive here. Like Washington hawthorn, monocot hawthorn grows as a shrub or small tree and bears clusters of white flowers in late spring. The oval red berries ripen slightly earlier (than Washington hawthorn) in the fall and have one seed (hence the name). The serrated leaves are deeper than those of the Washington hawthorn, but the spines are much smaller, only about 1/2 inch to 1 inch long.
Hawthorns are common on the Massachusetts forest floor, but they are gnarly specimens that do not bear fruit. It’s too dark in the forest. To find fruit-bearing hawthorns, look in sunny areas such as scrub and scrub, pasture edges, and near streams. They are often planted as ornamentals, so if your friend has one and doesn’t mind you picking the berries, you can easily forage.
This is my first experience with hawthorn berries, and I use them to make an extract, in the same way as vanilla extract. I hope to use hawthorn extract as a flavoring agent in cooking and baking. I filled a clean canning jar about 3/4 full with berries, poured 80 proof vodka over them and covered the jar. I’m not sure how long it will take to get enough flavor out of the berries, so I’ll be checking it daily. I know other extracts (like vanilla extract) take weeks, so that’s what I’m hoping for. Come fall, I’m excited to see the hawthorns begin to ripen their fruit to red and soon be ready to harvest. Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) is a member of the Rosaceae family. This botanical family also includes the red raspberry (Rubus ideaus) and the wild rose (Rosa woodsii), each of which, like the hawthorn, protects itself with the thorns it bears. How fantastic is it that the herbs of the rose family are so easy to love, yet know how to protect themselves? They seem to have strong boundaries and therefore demand respect.
Hawthorn Berry Decoction
I often find that my clients can use the support of hawthorn in a wellness formula or even as a simple tea or tincture, as it offers a variety of actions that lovingly guide us through the modern world. Although we may be bombarded with information and opinions, the hawthorn stands steadfast, ready to sustain us.
Hawthorn is so intriguing with its history and present. With nearly 300 species of hawthorn, it’s no surprise that many interesting tidbits have been passed down over time. While this abundant tree is the subject of various stories, mythology, and fun facts, the hawthorn also gives us more than just a story—it provides us with many helpful actions for both the physical and emotional bodies. The most common hawthorn species are Crataegus monogyna, C. oxyacantha and C. laevigata. All hawthorn species have health benefits (de la Forêt, 2017) and are used similarly by herbalists. In this article, I will touch on some myths, as well as the benefits of hawthorn. You will also find two easy hawthorn recipes that you can use throughout the fall season.
Hawthorn has many colloquial names, such as May thistle, May thistle and thistle apple, and the white flowers usually bloom around May 1st. Interestingly, maypoles were made from hawthorns (Masé, 2013), which is very appropriate as these beautiful flowers appear just in time for May Day and Beltane.
Quite an interesting folk tale about cutting hawthorns. Some say that cutting hawthorn branches can bring bad luck, especially if you bring the cut branches indoors. Conversely, leaving cut hawthorn branches outside was often believed to keep witches out of the home. However, it is believed that cut hawthorn branches were used to make powerful witches’ wands and brooms.
Crataegus Berries Photos
Another interesting part of the hawthorn story is that the Mayflower ship was named after the hawthorn because of the sense of hope this flowering tree inspired in England. The hawthorn symbolized not only hope, but also love, marriage and intimacy.
Hawthorns are often found in small groves and hedgerows where they have been planted to create a physical barrier between homes and properties. This weaving is called hedge, and hawk actually means hedge. You can begin to feel how this tree would have good boundaries.
I remember the first time I consciously spent time with hawthorn. It was autumn, and it was among lindens and roses, a spiritual herb garden of the heart if ever there was one! I was drawn to the thorns, leafy leaves and darkening fruit. It was then that I was told about the playful myth surrounding the history of the hawthorn. Hawthorn is said to be the guardian of the fairy kingdom. If you take a nap under the hawthorn, you will be escorted to the world of fairies. I am overwhelmed by cheerful, childish images, colorful clothes and lively dancing. Could this tree connect us to the most secret parts of us, the parts that haven’t forgotten how to experience joy through the lens of wonder?
The hawthorn tree offers many gifts: a leaf, a flower, a berry, and some herbalists even use a thorn. Hawthorn supports the physical heart by acting as a heart tonic (Easley & Horne, 2016), the spiritual heart, and personal boundaries. The berries have a sweet-sour taste, while the leaves and flowers are more astringent (Tilgner, 2009).
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The Chinese, Native Americans, and European nations have long been associated with hawthorn as a heart tonic. It was used as a tonic in 1st century Rome, where it was also seen as a symbol of love and marriage.
As mentioned above, hawthorn can nourish the spiritual heart (emotional body), but it also affects the physical body. The berry is rich in vitamin C and flavonoids, resulting in a nutrient-rich antioxidant herbal infusion. Flavonoids can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress (de la Forêt, 2016), and regularly consumed hawthorn berries are known as a tonic herb for the cardiovascular system (Tilgner, 2009). Leaves and flowers